Ou run away from me." "He's got fifty thousand dollars in the bank,"
hoarsely whispered Avery, vicariously sharing in this pride of
prosperity--the prosperity beyond her reach. "Uh-huh! Correct!"
corroborated Buck, surveying her in increasing triumph. This moment was
really worth waiting through the years for, he reflected. "Twenty can
play as well as one," croaked the parrot, his beady eye pressed between
the bars of his cage. The signora glanced up at this new speaker, eyed
Elkanah with a sage look that he returned, and then, after a moment's
reflection, said: "Thanks for the suggestion, old chap. That is to say,
three can play as well as two, when there's fifty thousand in the bank.
Buck, you know I'm always outspoken and straight to the point. No
underhanded bluff for me. I'm going to sue you for ten thousand." "Crack
'em down, gents!" remarked Elkanah, grimly. Buck cast a malevolent look
at the bird, and then, his cigar tip-tilted and the corner of his mouth
sarcastically askew, suggested with an air as though the idea were the
limit of satiric impossibility: "I want to know! Breach of promise, I
per-sume!" "Good aim! You've rung the bell," rejoined the lady, coolly.
The unconscionable impudence of the bare suggestion fetched a gasp from
both men. Plug Ivory's assumption of dignity crumbled immediately. The
years rolled back. He felt one of those old-time fits of rage come
bristling up the back of his head, the fury of old when he had tried to
wither that giddy creature in his spasms of jealousy. But now, as in the
past, her calm assurance put him out of countenance and his wild
anathemas died away in sputterings. "I know all that, Ivory Buck," she
said, icily. "But how are you going to prove I was married? Where are
you going to hunt for witnesses? Professional people are like wild
geese--roosting on air and moulting their names like feathers. What
proof of anything are you going to find after all these thirty years? W